Explore India from north to south, taking in Kerala, Mumbai, Varanasi, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Every trip helps support Conservation

Every detail taken care of

  • Personalised journeys from start to finish

  • Every trip helps support Conservation

  • Every detail taken care of

Itinerary highlights

  • Cruising the backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat
  • Boat trip along the River Ganges in Varanasi
  • The first time you lay eyes on the Taj Mahal
  • In-depth tours of New Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur

What's included

  • A private guide accompanying you from arrival to departure
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers and domestic flights
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

From the grand palaces of Rajasthan to the lush backwaters of Kerala, this 15-night adventure is India at its very best. In a country this size, landscapes and cultures change in the blink of an eye and you’ll get to explore this rich tapestry, accompanied the whole way by your very own expert guide.

Your journey begins in the southern state of Kerala, whose palm-fringed beaches and tranquil waterways have earned it the moniker, God’s Own Country. You’ll spend a day cruising along the backwaters on a houseboat, navigating your way through the emerald labyrinth past water lilies, rice paddies and coconut groves. Southern India is known for its wonderfully fresh cuisine and you’ll learn how to get the delicate blend of spices just right in a hands-on cooking class at a local farm.

The next stop is the colonial town of Fort Cochin. Having been ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British it has a distinctly European feel to it with elegant churches and colourful cottages. It is also known for its iconic Chinese fishing nets that line the waterfront; visit in the evening and admire these intricate contraptions silhouetted against the pink and orange sky. A short flight will then bring you to the heaving metropolis that is Mumbai.

The City of Dreams is the epitome of modern India and privately guided tours let you really get under its skin. Join the early rising Mumbaikers with a sunrise tour that lets you witness the city waking up, then see the dabbawalas in action as they deliver thousands of tiffin lunch boxes across Mumbai. Varanasi is India’s spiritual capital and here you’ll enjoy morning and evening boat rides along the sacred River Ganges before heading to Delhi for the next part of your adventure.

Explore Old and New Delhi and enjoy the buzz of life in the capital while visiting some of its most iconic sites. From here you’ll venture on to Agra, visiting the Taj Mahal at both sunset and sunrise when it is at its most atmospheric, the marble domes glowing golden and rose in the soft light. The colourful city of Jaipur is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of one of Rajasthan’s most vibrant hubs and you’ll discover its unique character with private tours of the City Palace and bustling bazaars as well as the magnificent Amber Fort nearby.

A short flight brings you to Udaipur where you’ll spend two nights exploring one of India’s most romantic cities, enjoying a sunset boat cruise around Lake Pichola on your last night before making your way to Delhi for your international flight home.

Example trip itinerary

Days 1-3

The Kerala backwaters

Flights & transfers


Airport assistance at Cochin Airport


Private transfer to your hotel in the Kerala backwaters with guide

Accommodation in The Kerala backwaters

Two nights in the Kerala backwaters Two nights in the Kerala backwaters

With the Western Ghats towering to the east and the Arabian Sea flowing out from the west, Kerala is one of India's most verdant and beautiful states. Crisscrossing this green lung are the backwaters that snake their way through towns and villages. Teeming with aquatic life and providing an invaluable resource to all who sit on their banks, these waterways have helped create an impossibly lush pocket of India.

Houseboat cruise through Kerala's backwaters Houseboat cruise through Kerala's backwaters

Kerala is affectionately known as God's Own Country, and as you glide along the network of lakes, rivers and canals that make up the backwaters, it's easy to see why. A houseboat cruise is a great way to explore rural India and you'll pass locals washing, fishing and bathing while enjoying the shade of the lush green surroundings. You'll transfer to a smaller canoe to explore the very narrow canals.

Cooking class at Philipkutty's Farm Cooking class at Philipkutty's Farm

Philipkutty's Farm is a working farm and one of just a few that exist below the level of the lake as the land was reclaimed from the backwaters of Lake Vambanad. You'll be shown around the farm where they use organic and sustainable methods to grow coconut, spices and bananas and fish for giant prawns and scampi in the canals. Every pocket of India has its own cuisine and you'll learn how to cook typical Keralan dishes which are well known for their fresh, punchy flavours.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to your hotel in Fort Cochin with guide

Days 3-5

Fort Cochin

Accommodation in Fort Cochin

Two nights in Fort Cochin Two nights in Fort Cochin

Nestled on the north west tip of Cochin’s peninsula, Fort Cochin is a quaint coastal region with strong links to its colonial history. Having been under the rule of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, the town has a distinctly European feel, its narrow streets lined with cottages and bungalows. Colonial relics are scattered throughout Fort Cochin, from the remains of Fort Immanuel and St. Francis church, both built by the Portuguese, to the Dutch cemetery.

Walk through the backstreets of Fort Cochin Walk through the backstreets of Fort Cochin

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, then in the late afternoon take a walk with your guide through the backstreets of Fort Cochin, ending at the iconic Chinese fishing nets to watch the sunset.

Walking tour around Cochin's Heritage Zone Walking tour around Cochin's Heritage Zone

Today you’ll explore Cochin’s Heritage Zone, whose architecture reflects the many foreign rulers that came to settle in the area. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot on Cochin’s soil and they built the St Francis Church in 1503, where explorer Vasco Da Gama was buried before his body was returned to Portugal. You’ll also visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its impressive muralled ceiling and wander the narrow streets lined with Dutch and British buildings before ending at the Chinese fishing nets. You will also visit the Dutch Palace and the synagogue in Mattancherry. There will be time to wander through its winding streets, past antique shops and spice bazaars should you wish to purchase souvenirs.

Kathakali dance performance Kathakali dance performance

Kathakali is a classical dance form popular in Kerala. Its name translates as ‘story play’ and the dances present themes derived from mythology and legend. Kathakali is well known for its elaborate costumes and heavy make-up and if you arrive early you can see the performers getting ready.

Cycling tour around Fort Cochin Cycling tour around Fort Cochin

Explore the areas of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry by bicycle, riding down side streets to get an insight into local life. You’ll cycle past the Chinese fishing nets, dhobi ghats (open air laundries), temples, churches, mosques and the beach. Continue past spice warehouses, the air rich with the smell of dried ginger, cardamom and pepper. This area is very diverse and home to a variety of communities, each with their own dress and language. You’ll cycle for approximately 8km at a very relaxed pace, with plenty of stops for your guide to point out interesting sights along the route.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Cochin airport with guide


Flight from Cochin - Mumabi


Private transfer to your hotel in Mumbai with guide

Days 5-7


Accommodation in Mumbai

Two nights in Mumbai Two nights in Mumbai

The capital of Maharashtra and India’s economic powerhouse, Mumbai is a huge metropolis home to over 22 million people. A melting pot of cultures, the affectionately named City of Dreams envelops all who come in a cloud of colour and sound, its energy undeniably contagious. Mumbaikars have a real love for life, which they live at quite a pace, and the best way to enjoy this city is to simply join them.

Discover Mumbai in the early morning Discover Mumbai in the early morning

Mumbai is a huge, bustling city but catch it in the early hours of the morning and it takes on a totally different personality. You’ll start your tour at sunrise at the grand Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus where the cogs that keep the city running are set in motion. Newspapers are sorted ready for delivery to the city and the suburbs; milk vendors cycle past with huge canisters of milk; and freshly baked bread is transported to the shops of Mumbai. You’ll arrive at Sassoon Docks in time to see the Kohli fishermen pull in with the morning catch before making your way to the colourful flower market and Crawford fruit and vegetable market, where it is estimated 3000 tonnes of produce is traded every day.

Gateway of India and the Kala Ghoda area Gateway of India and the Kala Ghoda area

Your tour starts with a visit to Gateway of India, one of Mumbai’s most iconic landmarks. It was built in 1924 by George Wittet, whose brief was to combine the grandeur of a Roman triumphal arch with decorative motifs from Hindu and Muslim architecture. Overlooking the harbour, the Gateway was to celebrate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Whilst it served as an arrival point for visitors from the west, it also marked the spot where the British departed India in 1947. Explore the historic Kala Ghoda area, home to a range of architectural styles from Gothic to art deco. Food stalls, cafes and galleries line the streets which also serve as a makeshift cricket pitchs for enthusiastic locals. You’ll also visit the impressive Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a huge Victorian Gothic station and a great place to people watch.

See the dabbawalas in action See the dabbawalas in action

When it comes to lunch, popping out for a sandwich is just not how they do it in Mumbai. The dabbawalas are a 5,000 strong group who deliver 200,000 lunch boxes every day to offices around the city. Every morning the dabbawalas call on homes to pick up dabbas, or lunch boxes, filled with home cooked food prepared for offices workers. All the boxes look identical but a very well organised and precise system ensures they all end up at the correct desk. You'll visit Churchgate Station to see this amazing process in action.

Visit Mani Bhavan Gandhi museum Visit Mani Bhavan Gandhi museum

Today you’ll visit the Mani Bhavan museum, dedicated to the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. Housed in a private residence that was used by Gandhi during his visits to Mumbai, the collection follows the key events in his life and includes some of his personal items and photographs.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Mumbai airport with guide


Flight from Mumbai - Varanasi


Private transfer to your hotel in Varanasi with guide

Days 7-8


Accommodation in Varanasi

One night in Varanasi One night in Varanasi

An ancient settlement on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is India’s spiritual capital and important among numerous faiths. Varanasi’s 84 ghats - stone embankments that step down into the river- are its most iconic sight. Most are crowded with pilgrims performing ritual ablutions in the river waters while a few are used solely for cremation. Sublime and sometimes shocking to visitors, the whole experience is utterly unforgettable.

The rest of city is home to some 23,000 temples, the sandstone Ramnagar Fort and numerous centres of education, philosophy, music and art. Small-scale industries and household production employ most of Varanasi’s residents and its winding alleyways are one of the best places to find fine silks, carpets and crafts.

Evening boat ride along the River Ganges Evening boat ride along the River Ganges

Enjoy an evening boat ride along the River Ganges, the most sacred river in Hinduism. As you drift along the water you'll witness life on the riverbanks as people come to bathe and offer worship. You'll also experience the evening prayer ceremony and float your own lamps down the river.

Morning boat ride along the River Ganges and old city walking tour Morning boat ride along the River Ganges and old city walking tour

This morning you will be taken for a boat ride on the River Ganges. After the boat ride you will meet a local expert on the ghats who will lead you on a private walking tour in the old city. On this walk you will see the back alleys, old havelis, temples, labyrinth of streets, street vendors and pilgrims that line banks of the Ganges.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Varanasi airport with guide


Flight from Varanasi - Delhi


Private transfer to your hotel in Delhi with guide

Days 8-10


Accommodation in Delhi

Two nights in Delhi Two nights in Delhi

With a population of over 18 million, Delhi is an international metropolis. Perhaps daunting at first sight, a little exploring soon reveals a rich, diverse and fascinating culture. Throughout most of its history, it has served as the capital of various kingdoms and empires, captured and rebuilt time and time again. Every dynasty left its mark and as you start to explore, you’ll discover reminders and relics from this colossal game of pass the parcel.

As well as centuries worth of history to explore, Delhi is also one of the best places in India to shop, try the many different styles of food and experience the buzz of a city where its millions of inhabitants are going about their daily business. And if weaving your way in and out of the rickshaws and cyclists ever starts to get too much, turn the corner and you’ll find a tranquil garden or a quiet enclave in which to stop, gather your thoughts and recharge.

Old Delhi tour Old Delhi tour

In complete contrast to the new city, the old city is a labyrinthine maze of lanes overhung by a tangled mass of electric wires. Within this chaos lies a semblance of order – each lane in this area is dedicated to a particular item, rather like a department store. There are lanes selling bangles, grocers, items used in weddings, silverware, clothes, spices and shoes. Sharing the same space are vendors with carts selling a variety of items, street side dentists, natural healers and cobblers. The old city has space for all professions. You will explore the old city in cycle rickshaws and will also walk along some of the more interesting alleys.

New Delhi tour New Delhi tour

Explore New Delhi, an area within Delhi built as the seat of the British Indian government in the early twentieth century. Much of the design was by architect Edwins Lutyens, and thus it is referred to as Lutyens' Delhi, who invented his own order of classical architecture. There are grand buildings, such as Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly known as Viceroy’s House), as well as the Lutyens Bungalow Zone, a green area of residential buildings that has the most expensive real estate in India and possibly the world. You’ll also see Humayun's Tomb, built in 1570 as the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Agra with guide

Days 10-11

Agra and the Taj Mahal

Accommodation in Agra and the Taj Mahal

One night in Agra One night in Agra

It has graced the pages of books for centuries but nothing quite prepares you for seeing the Taj Mahal for the very fist time. The ultimate symbol of eternal love, this is one of India's most memorable and emotive sights. The Taj Mahal sits on the banks of the holy Yamuna River within 42 acres of beautiful gardens. The domed mausoleum sits 52m above the river bank, surrounded by minarets on all four sides. It is flanked by a mosque and a guest house, both made from red sandstone and mirror images of each other. There is no denying that the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is one of the main reasons people visit Agra. However, it’s well worth lingering to explore the city’s magnificent fort that lies just 3km to the west.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India in the lights of the sunset.
Sunset visit to the Taj Mahal Sunset visit to the Taj Mahal

Visiting the Taj Mahal at sunset is a truly magical experience, as the light plays on the marble of the tomb and its reflection shimmers in the water. Heartbroken after the death of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, during the birth of their 14th child, Shah Jahan set about building the world’s most beautiful monument in her honour. It took a workforce of more than 20,000 men 22 years to build, painstakingly making sure every slab of marble, precious stone and stroke of calligraphy was perfect. It is undoubtedly one of the most impressive sights on earth and the world's greatest symbol of love.

Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal

As the light changes, so too does the colour of the Taj Mahal. One of the best times to visit is in the early hours when it is bathed in the ethereal glow of the morning light.

Tour of Agra Fort Tour of Agra Fort

Just a few kilometres from the Taj Mahal sits the impressive Agra Fort, where the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan was imprisoned by his son. Here you will see the art and crafting of the white marble that has made the area so famous, the Pearl Mosque and the Halls of Public and Private Audience.

Private transfer to Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri with guide Private transfer to Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri with guide

En route to Jaipur, you may like to visit the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri which was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after just 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, the Tomb of Salim Chishti, the Panch Mahal and other palaces.

Days 11-14


Accommodation in Jaipur

Three nights in Jaipur Three nights in Jaipur

The capital of Rajasthan and its largest city, Jaipur is at once the state’s commercial hub and one of its most fascinating cultural destinations. The pace of life here is fast, but take your time and in this somewhat frantic city you'll find some of India’s most majestic palaces and atmospheric relics.

Visit the Jantar Mantar Visit the Jantar Mantar

Maharaja Jai Singh II, the founder of the pink city, was an avid astrologer and built five observatories around northern India. The Jantar Mantar is the
largest of the five and houses what is believed to be the world's largest sun dial. The observatory consists of 14 geometric devices for measuring time, tracking constellations and observing the orbits around the sun.

Tour of Jaipur's City Palace Tour of Jaipur's City Palace

Visit the sprawling City Palace which is painted pink in keeping with the color theme of the old city. The impressive facade and interiors are a blend of predominately Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. Within the palace complex are several museums including a textile gallery exhibiting a fine selection of textiles and costumes from the royal collection. You'll also enjoy a tour also of the ceremonial rooms and private quarters which are usually off limits to the public.

Visit the bazaars of Jaipur's old city Visit the bazaars of Jaipur's old city

Explore the Badi Chaupad and Johari bazaars in Jaipur's old city. Wandering through the maze of stalls and studios, you'll see craftspeople working on all sorts of forms of local art including zardozi embroidery, gota work, kinary, silver ornament work and precious and semi-precious stonework.

Puja temple ceremony and market visit Puja temple ceremony and market visit

Today you'll visit a temple and partake in a short puja ceremony, where the temple priest will perform worship for you and offer blessings. You will also take a walk through Jaipur's traditional markets filled with colourful fruit and vegetable stalls. Set against the backdrop of Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob's vernacular architecture, the bustling alleyways are still where many merchant families live today.

Tour of Amber Fort Tour of Amber Fort

Amber, the ancient capital of the region, still recalls its heydays in the majestic ramparts rising steeply along the contoured hillsides. It is an extremely well preserved building and during your guided tour you'll visit the Jagmandir, or Hall of Victory, with its glittering mirrors, the Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali.

Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing

Visit the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, a gem of a museum tucked away in a beautiful building among the cobbled streets of Amber. Here you can see the incredible work that goes into this traditional form of block printing on cotton and silk.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Jaipur airport with guide


Flight from Jaipur - Udaipur


Private transfer to your hotel in Udaipur with guide

Days 14-16


Accommodation in Udaipur

Two nights in Udaipur Two nights in Udaipur

The scenic city of Udaipur sits surrounded on all sides by the wooded Aravalli Hills, its grand palaces reflected in serene lakes. The old city is a bustling jumble of alleys and side streets, but tranquility is never far away, be it boating on one of the lakes or a panoramic view from the hilltop Monsoon Temple. For shoppers, Udaipur’s ancient bazaars and a vibrant arts scene make it a great place to find intricate Mughal inspired miniature paintings, marble and silver craft. For those seeking some adventure, the rolling countryside outside the city can be explored on foot or horseback.

Market tour and home cooking class with Minakshi Singh Market tour and home cooking class with Minakshi Singh

Meet your hosts for this morning, Minakshi and Mahipal Singh, at their home. First you will make a visit to the local market to learn about vegetables and spices, before a cooking lesson in the kitchen of their home. Minakshi Singh, will take you on a culinary journey, teaching you all about Indian spices and how to use them when cooking Indian dishes at home. This will be hands on session with you cooking along with her. At the end, enjoy your creations for lunch.

Tour of Udaipur's City Palace Tour of Udaipur's City Palace

The City Palace, sat on the banks of Lake Pichola, is one of the architectural wonders of Rajasthan, its detailed art and workmanship a tribute to the skills of local craftspeople. A collection of towers, domes and arches, the Palace illustrates several architectural styles including Moghal and Rajput. The royal family claim to be 'surya vansh', descendents of the sun, and so the whole structure faces east and there is a stunning bejewelled image of the sun at the entrance. Inside the Palace there is an interesting collection of Rajput miniature paintings and the Crystal Gallery which houses an eccentric collection of art and furniture.

Guided walk through Udaipur's old city Guided walk through Udaipur's old city

Enjoy wandering the old city with your guide, winding your way through lanes that teem with cows, elephants and people. You'll pass shops, folk art hung on the walls of houses and pretty latticed haveli windows.

Jal Sanjhvi water painting Jal Sanjhvi water painting

Jal Sanjhvi is the art of drawing on water, a popular ritual performed at temples dedicated to Krishna where coloured powders are used to draw iconic images onto water. A full canvas takes about five hours to create, and you'll arrive in time to see the picture completed.

Sunset boat trip around Lake Pichola Sunset boat trip around Lake Pichola

See Udaipur is all its shimmering glory with a private boat trip around Lake Pichola. Not only does a boat trip provide some of the best scenic views of the lake and the mountains, but it also gives you the opportunity to see some of the most important historical monuments situated along the lakeside and within the lake itself. You will get to see the majestic City Palace, lakeside havelis, Jagmandir Island Palace and The Lake Palace.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Udaipur airport with guide


Flight from Udaipur - Delhi

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